Adenoviral delivery of dominant-negative transforming growth factor beta type II receptor up-regulates transcriptional repressor SKI-like oncogene, decreases matrix metalloproteinase 2 in hepatic stellate cell and prevents liver fibrosis in rats

Ana Marquez-Aguirre, Ana Sandoval-Rodriguez, Jaime Gonzalez-Cuevas, Miriam Bueno-Topete, Jose Navarro-Partida, Immaculada Arellano-Olivera, Silvia Lucano-Landeros, Juan Armendariz-Borunda
Journal of Gene Medicine 2009, 11 (3): 207-19

BACKGROUND: Dominant-negative transforming growth factor beta type II receptor (TbetaRIIDeltacyt) is a protein that blocks transforming growth factor (TGF-beta) signaling. Because the consequences of blocking TGF-beta have not been completely elucidated in liver fibrosis, we analysed the effects of adenoviral delivery of TbetaRIIDeltacyt on profibrogenic genes and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) proteins, as well as on TGF-beta signal repressor SKI-like oncogene (SnoN), in cultured hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and in a rat model of liver fibrosis.

METHODS: To induce liver fibrosis, rats were treated with thioacetamide for 7 weeks and administrated once with Ad-TbetaRIIDeltacyt or Ad-betagal through the iliac vein. Fibrosis was measured by morphometric analysis. We evaluated SnoN by western blot, immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry; MMP activity was determined by zymography and profibrogenic gene expression by the real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in cultured HSCs and liver tissue.

RESULTS: Profibrogenic gene expression of collagen alpha1 (I), TGF-beta1, platelet-derived growth factor-B, plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1, tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 and MMP-2 was down-regulated; whereas MMP-3 was over-expressed in response to Ad-TbetaRIIDeltacyt in HSCs. Moreover, zymography assays corroborated MMP-2 and MMP-3 changes in activity. Surprisingly, anti-TGF-beta molecular intervention increased nuclear SnoN in HSCs. In vivo, Ad-TbetaRIIDeltacyt reduced liver fibrosis, increased nuclear SnoN in sinusoidal cells, and also produced significant suppression in collagen alpha1 (I), TGF-beta1, PAI-1, MMP-2 and over-expression in MMP-3 in thioacetamide-intoxicated animals.

CONCLUSIONS: The results obtained in the present study suggest that the molecular mechanism for the blocking effects of Ad-TbetaRIIDeltacyt in TGF-beta signaling acts via up-regulation of the transcriptional repressor SnoN, which antagonizes TGF-beta signaling (TGF-beta/Smad-pathway inhibitor). Consequently, profibrogenic genes are down-regulated.

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